the tale of the iphone

July 13, 2009

Okay, so I told you that I dropped my iphone into Flaming Gorge Reservoir, right? I’ve spent the subsequent 10 days or so phone-less, which makes Kim kind of happy, but makes me kind of edgy.

Upon my return to civilization, my distinguished brother in law, Sleepy, let me know that he had cracked the screen of his iPhone a couple months ago, and when the Apple store refused to help him out, his company had replaced his iPhone. Which meant he had a cracked iPhone just sitting in his truck. But I wasn’t terribly excited about having an iPhone, free or not, with a cracked screen.

Which is when Sleepy dropped his voice a bit.

“Well,” he said. “As I was leaving the Apple store, someone stopped me and said “I couldn’t help but overhear your conversation back there about your cracked iPhone. I know they can’t help you, but . . . I know a guy.””

And he slipped Sleepy a business card with an Eastern European name on it.

Sleepy filed it with the iPhone in the armrest of his truck.

So he passed to me the cracked phone AND the name and number on the card. And I called.

The voicemail on the other end had a heavy Germanic accent, and said “yes, hello please. I repair iPhone screens. Leave me a message.”

Which, of course, I did.

And Franz called me back a few hours later and said, “Yes, I can fix you. Meet me Monday at 11:00 at the Holiday Gas Station in Taylorsville. I’ll be in a green Honda Accord. I’ll fix your screen and unlock/jailbreak your phone for $90.”

Um. Okay. Sure. It’s a date.

At 11:00 I pulled into the Holiday parking lot, got out of my car, and kind of leaned on the hood, clutching my iPhone in my hand, thinking Hey, he’ll see it and know it’s me.

A nice green Honda Accord pulled into the lot, and a guy got out and went inside. He came back out a few minutes later, looked in my general direction while I tried frantically to make eye contact, kind of holding up my cracked phone, and then got in his car and drove off. I’m pretty sure he called the cops and let them know someone was soliciting in the Holiday parking lot.

A couple minutes later a much less nice green Honda Accord pulled up and a guy with a ratty pony tail and an excess of tattoos got out and looked at me. “Did you call me?”

I confirmed that I was indeed his mark, er, customer, and he said “Okay. Follow me.” And he got in his car and drove away. I followed.

We pulled into a relatively decent neighborhood, but turned into the driveway of the least decent house in it. I began to worry a bit about my lack of connectivity to the world. I’m not used to not having my phone. Did I mention, I get jumpy?

We went inside and he plopped a laptop and some tools and a bag of latex gloves down on the kitchen counter. A teenage girl lounged on a couch, reading a book. A dozen (I counted) cats roamed the kitchen/living room. One cat kept jumping up on my lap, leaving clumps of hair on my shirt and pants.

“Okay,” said Franz, ignoring the cats. “First I fix the screen.” And he donned the latex gloves, used a tiny screwdriver to remove a couple tiny screws, and, using a little suction cup attached to his car key ring, popped the screen off, all the while chatting amiably. “See, I used the gloves so no fingerprints on the screen. I use the suction cup to no break the seal so warranty still good.”

How about that?

After about 20 minutes, he popped the new screen on, plugged the phone into his laptop, and downloaded some unlock/jailbreak software to the phone.

“And now,” he said casually, “we need wifi. I do not have here. Let us get in your car and drive until we find.”

Hmm. Sure. Awesome. Let’s.

And we did. I slowly drove the neighborhood while he monitored the wifi on the phone, searching for an unsecured connection.

“HERE! Stop here!” Of course I did.

He punched some buttons, pursed his lips, messed with the phone a bit, and suddenly said “There you go. All done.”

I passed him my $90, he passed me the phone, and, well, there you go.

Easy as pie. But I’m still a little shaken. And not a little grateful that I didn’t end up in a dumpster somewhere in West Valley.


18 Responses to “the tale of the iphone”

  1. Jonnie Says:

    You live an exciting life my friend. You can’t make this stuff up!

  2. Annie Says:

    I cannot believe you did this. Does Kim know about all of this? I’d be furious with my husband.

    How much does a new iPhone cost anyway?

  3. Blackdog Says:

    I would have thought you would have kept this a secret after Rock Gate.

    Reminds me of the time I bought my daughter a Wii for Christmas. I met the guy by the dumpster behind the Barbacoa in Draper. I kept looking over my shoulder waiting to get mugged.

  4. mark Says:

    Could you pass along the info? I know a guy with a cracked screen.

  5. Aaron Says:

    I kept thinking “no way did this really happen”, but then I remembered that this is Dug we’re talking about. How do these things always happen to you? This would NEVER happen to me.

  6. bikemike Says:

    “THEY” now know who you are. call mulder and skully, it’s the only way out of this mess.

  7. Jeff Says:

    That’s freaky – it’s like something from a really lame, non-violent mafia movie.

  8. UtRider Says:

    Now that you’re familiar with the procedure and friends with Franz’s cat how about you give him another call and schedule an appointment to get the cracked screen on my iPhone fixed? I’ll cover the $90 and promise to buy you a bowl of Pho each week for a month if you do it. Just think, while he’s fixing my phone you can be secretly taking pictures with yours, making the follow up blog post to this one even better.

    • dug Says:

      mark, now that i’m pals with franz, i’d be happy to go back. i miss the cats.

      just email me. we’ll work it out.

  9. Eber Says:

    What Franz didn’t tell you is that in addition to installing the “unlock” software he also installed code that is now tracking your every move, recording every call and draining your bank accounts.

  10. MOCougFan Says:

    Man I kept waiting for the “jk… I’m not that dumb!”

    But it never came. Sheesh your braver than me. I broke my Treo the other day. I bought a new phone 3 days later.

    I can just see Elden’s blog title…. “Dug died today. Yes it was because of his phone.”

  11. Flyin' Ute Says:

    I cracked my screen and dropped it in a swimming pool. It’s been sitting in my drawer for a year. Do you think he can help? Serious.

    Let me know.

  12. Rick S. Says:

    Dug- you should join forces and take a cut for bringing new business to Franz. 70/30?

  13. bikemike Says:

    C’MON PEOPLE, did no one see the movie “Hostel”? i mean,crap, that’s how this stuff starts.

  14. evilbanks Says:

    Dude, that is a great story! Now I know a guy who knows a guy…………I’m connected.

  15. forgingahead Says:

    That is just too brilliant! Love that you had this little adventure. Even happier that it has a happy ending.

  16. sang6iru Says:

    nice story… i got a little close story with you where i got my apple iphone 3GS 16GB for free from this site.

    great share!

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